Day 99 – Boyle Flat Hut to Boyle Village

Date: 20 January
Trail covered: 12.2km (kms 2047.2 to 2059.4)
Weather: another scorcher

I woke up at 7am today. It was nice knowing that I could take my time this morning. The one last section of trail before I reach Boyle Village is a 12km section which is supposed to be easy-going. So I cooked some oats, made some coffee, and then had a bit of cereal. It was pretty much the only bit of food I had left except for a wrap, peanut butter and a few chips that I could have at lunch.

One of the many lovely long drops I encounter on a daily basis. I like the sign someone has attached here though – the sign you see on all the swingbridges – “maximum load 1 person”

I left about 20 minutes after Rhydian, but it wasn’t long before I caught him. We walked together from the 4km mark all the way to Boyle Village.

Leaving Boyle Flat Hut
The hut in the distance

It was definitely an easier path than any of the previous four days.

Nice and leisurely

However I stand by yesterday’s view that the walkway was built a while ago and is starting to fall into disrepair and nobody cares. I think this photo of a crumbling boardwalk proves my point.

This has definitely seen better days. Maybe a horse walked on it.

It was also clearer that the yellow/green markers were pointing down a horse trail. I wish the ones from yesterday had that written on them!

“Horse trail only” it says. Now you tell me.

Although I don’t know how horses are supposed to cross over trees like this.

There is a gate here for them though.

It was shaping up to be yet another hot day. Walking 37km in the scorching heat yesterday was tough, and I’m sunburnt today. Today is mostly in tree cover and a much shorter distance so that’s nice.

Rhydian avoiding the “bridge to nowhere”

There was one last swingbridge before the village.

We stopped just over the swingbridge to have a snack at 11am. I had the very last of my food.

11am – one last snack on the trail

It was only another 2km to the village now, which went fast.

The last 2km got more “touristy”, as it often does as you get close to roads and towns

There was an old chimney stack just before the village. Did there used to be a hut here?

Soon, there were a couple of cars in the car park.

Cars! Back in civilization!

At this car park there is a “micro-transmitter” so that there is cellphone service at this exact spot (but nowhere else in the area). I used this chance to ensure my shuttle for tomorrow was booked correctly – it was.

I think this is the “micro-transmitter” here…

Rhydian then got a ride to Hanmer Springs with the couple who stayed with us at the hut last night who turned up just after us. He said he was looking forward to beer and pizza.

We got them to take a picture of us just before he left, thanks guys

I felt a bit sad once I got to the end of the car park and Rhydian had gone. I didn’t want to stop walking. I also would have liked to go to Hanmer Springs and get a beer and pizza too! It’s okay though, I’ll catch him up again before he gets to Bluff.

I had a quick glance at Alex’s blog while I was here. He said that he, Charlie and Peter failed to get a lift back from Hanmer Springs to Boyle Village for the whole day, so it might not be as easy to hitchhike there as people say.

The “village” was not the bustling metropolis that I assumed it would be. In fact the only thing here is the Boyle River Outdoor Education Centre. I wandered down and booked into the last bed they had available in their little cottage.

I couldn’t buy any ice cream from them sadly, but I did get a king-size block of chocolate and a frozen pizza to cook later.

It has potential…
It was worth the $6

They did have a box of “Free TA Food” which was nice.

Free TA Food

I didn’t take much because I’m going to Christchurch tomorrow and can resupply while I’m there, but I did grab a little zip lock bag containing an unidentified cereal for tomorrow morning.

During the day I watched as other hikers arrived and picked up their food boxes that they had sent here for collection – the centre provides that service also. One such hiker was Sabine. It was good to see her again, and we exchanged pictures and blog addresses. Since Sabine is from Austria, her blog is in German, however Google Translate does a good job of translating it to English for me. She is a teacher so I bet her German spelling and grammar are excellent, which will help with Google’s automatic translation. Here’s her blog (in the original German), and here is her entry where we crossed Waiau Pass together automatically translated into English with Google Translate.

Once the immense power of the sun went away a bit, I went to try and find a geocache. I couldn’t find the one in the carpark just outside the building so I went for a walk down State Highway 7 to find the next-closest one.

It made me happy to see I had left behind the “6” highways and I was now onto the “7” highways. Just the “8” and the “9” highways to go, and I’ll be at Bluff!

Looking back towards Boyle Village

I found the geocache, which was near a trig point. It gave me a view back to Boyle Village, which as it turns out does have a few houses after all.

It was supposed to be a full dorm of six but only two others turned up, and they had their own little room off to the side, so I kind of had my own spot to myself.

One thing about the accommodation here is that they give you a big list of chores to do, including detailed instructions on how to clean the toilet and shower, change the sheets and vacuum the place. They also say that you can’t dispose of any rubbish here (so why do they provide a rubbish bin?) – this proved to be really inconvenient for the other two staying who were continuing the trail and didn’t want to carry their Coke cans and frozen pizza boxes with them on the trail. They said they were going to talk to the staff about disposing of their rubbish. I don’t know how they got on.

There are a few trail stories posted on the wall here. One that caught my eye was a photo of a guy who said that he left Boyle Village on 14 February 2017 and made it to Bluff on 16 March. I don’t know this guy obviously or how fast he walks but at least it gives me some kind of date for when I might finish. It took him 31 days to do the rest of the trail from here and assuming I can do it in the same, that gives me an estimated finish date of around 29 February. It would be very cool to finish Te Araroa on a leap day.

People in the South Island often ask when I expect to finish. Nobody in the North Island asked that – that must mean I’m getting close to finishing. At least now I can give them a date – 29 February!

Well, that’s it from me again for now. It’s the end of the Nelson/Marlborough section of the trail notes and the end of the trail for me for a week while I attend a wedding. See you on or around the 28th for the 100th day!

Today's walk on the map (blue = Te Araroa, red = today's walk):

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